What is Aged Care: A Need to Know Guide

Discover our helpful guide where we answer all your questions about what aged care in Australia is and how your site can provide the best care for residents.

The Australian government spent $23.6 billion on aged care in 2020-2021, with 60% of this expenditure being spent on residential aged care.

We've explained everything you need to know about what aged care is, including the types of aged care services available, how the Australian aged care system works, what aged care providers help with and more.

What is aged care?

Aged care services involve the provision of basic health and care services to elderly people who can no longer take care of themselves, or who are unable to live independently in their own homes.
Aged care providers offer personal care assistance, meal preparation and delivery, recreational activities, equipment, accommodation, home modifications or repairs and nursing or medical attention when needed. 

What aged care services are available?

There are three types of services within aged care, including care in an individual's own home, residential care and temporary care, such as respite care.

1. Home care

One of the options that the aged care system offers is home care, whereby the aim of this is to keep the individual independent for as long as possible.

2. Residential aged care site

This type of aged care site helps those who are unable to live in their own home and need support in their everyday living.

3. Temporary aged care support services

This type of aged care helps those who need support following a hospital stay, those who need restorative care and those who need respite care.

Read our blog to find out more about what are the 3 main types of aged care services in Australia.

How are aged care services delivered?

1. Australian government funding

To access aged care services and government-funded services, certain criteria must be met.

For example:

  • The individual must be 65 or above (unless the individual is Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander, in which case it's 50 and above)
  • The individual has recently been in hospital or experienced a fall
  • The individual has experienced mobility issues
  • The individual has been diagnosed with a medical condition

Visit the My Aged Care website to explore the full range of criteria for government-funded aged care.

2. Private funding

If an individual is unable to get aged care funded by the Australian government, then the alternative option is to look at private funding. This tends to happen either if it's found that the person doesn't meet the criteria for government-funded aged care, or if they do meet the criteria, but they're just waiting for the funded services to start.

Within the last year there have been changes to the funding model in aged care; read our complete guide to AN-ACC to understand what this means for residential aged care providers.

What elements of help are involved in aged care?

1. Helping with mealtimes

Those working in aged care will often have to help with residents' mealtimes. For older persons who need aged care, maintaining their dignity and making sure they're being treated with respect is key. For instance, aged care at mealtimes isn't just about feeding residents food but also taking time to chat and explain the content of their plate whilst they're eating and ensuring they're getting the right nutrients. Likewise, aged care staff have to ensure that all allergies and dietary requirements are noted and catered for.

2. Providing social interactions

When working in aged care it’s easy to forget the importance of providing social interaction for individuals. For instance, if you’re visiting an elderly individual in their own home, you may be the only person they see for days, especially if their family live far away. Arguably, that’s why working in specialist services such as aged care is so diverse because you have to wear many hats – a protector, carer and provider, as well as being a friend and good company.

3. Organising activities

As well as day-to-day tasks, those working in aged care also arrange and provide residents in aged care homes with a range of social activities. This is one of the many benefits of aged care for residents as it gives them the chance to interact with others and engage in fun activities, which is key for their well-being.

4. Helping residents maintain personal hygiene

For many older persons, receiving help with their personal hygiene may feel embarrassing and upsetting at first, which is why making sure they feel respected, looked after and safe is paramount. Whether an individual is receiving residential care, respite care or home care, maintaining their dignity is vital.
As part of working in aged care, you will have to personally care for individuals by undertaking tasks such as making sure toilet seats in bathrooms are raised, ensuring bathrooms are safe to avoid any falls, dressing and bathing the elderly, as well as helping them go to the toilet to uphold good hygiene standards.

5. Administration

Within the aged care system, there are many administrative duties that staff must undertake to ensure the safety and well-being of their residents. For example, a task could include keeping care records up-to-date and accurate. As well as this, aged care staff work together to complete other tasks such as monitoring issues, making notes of any incidents that occur, attending internal meetings, undergoing training and managing the medication of residents.
Although the administrative side of aged care can feel time-consuming, it's vital to ensure that residents are being properly looked after and that the aged care staff's work is recorded properly.
Discover our clinical care system that allows you to evidence care at the point of delivery and saves precious hours of admin work that could be spent looking after residents.

How are aged care services managed?

Within the residential aged care system, whilst some sites may be fully embracing the digital era, some are still relying on paper files. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission report conducted by the Australian government in January – March 2022, reported that not having effective governance systems was ranked 6th out of 10 for reasons that non-compliance was found in residential aged care sites.

Those working in aged care services must digitalise their systems to improve their efficiency, keep up with changes within aged care, as well as increase the data security of patient records. Likewise, having a digital system to manage your residential care home will help you to manage the day-to-day running of your home, so that you can focus greater attention on your residents and care staff, rather than getting bogged down in paperwork.

What is a typical day in aged care like?

A typical day for someone working in aged care could involve a range of activities, and everyday tasks such as helping with residents' personal care needs, overseeing that medication is taken, helping with meals, engaging with residents' social activities and more. The key thing to remember is that for someone working in aged care, every day is different, but providing quality care and making sure that residents are safe, is the most important part of the job.

How to make your aged care home stand out...

Implementing an aged care software like Person Centred Software’s operations management software, designed to help you improve the quality of life for your residents and care staff by making the operations of your site seamless and easy.

The software consists of a range of features, enabling you to manage your aged care site communications, activities, maintenance, dining, customer feedback and more, all in one easy-to-use place.

Find out how our software benefits
residential aged care homes

Why should your aged care home use operations management software?

1. It'll make your site more efficient

Using the software means you'll no longer need to get bogged down with endless amounts of admin, paperwork and resident records. You can manage all this information in one centralised place!

The Maintenance and Asset Management feature can help your site streamline your maintenance processes, helping to foster greater communication between staff and the maintenance team, as well as meeting regulatory compliance.

2. It'll make your residents and staff happier

Your staff won't be burdened with endless amounts of admin. Instead, they can focus on what they entered the healthcare profession to do – look after and care for others. In turn, this will allow your residents to receive better care from your staff and will improve their well-being and happiness with your site. The software’s Lifestyle Management tool has an array of functionalities, such as a newsfeed, announcements, activity management calendar and more, to help your residents feel part of your aged care site's community.

3. It'll make you able to embrace change quicker

We all know how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic was, particularly for health professionals, across the globe. Having a digital system that allows you to manage everything in one place will allow you to be more agile in responding to change. For instance, if you suddenly receive an influx of residents, you'll be able to quickly adapt to this change and get their records updated quicker, rather than getting overwhelmed by paperwork and admin.

4. It'll allow your aged care site to have greater control over visitors

Whether it's a family member, contractor, delivery driver, staff member or resident, the software’s Visitor Management module will allow you to track exactly who entered your care home and when they left, giving you tighter control and knowledge over exactly who visited your aged care sites.

5. You'll get quality feedback from those that matter the most

The software’s Feedback & Quality Management module will enable your aged care site to receive quality feedback from family members and residents. This critical module will help you ensure that your aged care services are performing to the best they can be.

6. It'll help you grow your site

Using the software’s Customer Relationship Management module will help you organise your prospect information all in one place, including new enquiry and site tour management, as well as a sales dashboard to help you analyse your sales activities.

7. Provide excellent aged care services by partnering with us

If you want to find out how our operations management software can help you manage your aged care home, book a demo with us or get in contact.